October is National Bullying Awareness month so what better time to address the deadly effects of it. I felt the need and importance to write this piece on Teen Suicide in the desire to help and bring awareness to this critical crisis facing our young people. First we need to identify Adolescent Suicide for what is…which is trying to fix a temporary problem with a permanent solution!
4 American teenagers per day between the ages of 13-19 commit suicide daily, alarming…yes! Can we change these numbers? yes. Many teenagers commit suicide on impulse for reasons such as a relationship ends, low self-esteem, peer pressure but the number one cause is “BULLYING.”
Bullying is not only physical but physiological torment as well, those are the scars that cut the deepest and are not always visible. When teens make the decision to commit suicide they are not thinking about the loved ones left behind, they are not in a rational state of mind, they are just trying to find away to end the pain at that moment. Parents may view a breakup or bullying as a passing event “kids will be kids it will make them stronger, I went through that too etc..etc..blah, blah” Guess what parents they don’t think like you, nor do they react like you. They have their own identity, feelings, emotions, impulses, and the tolerance level is not the same.
When your young person comes to you for help, never diminish their feelings with a pat on the back. Take everything your youngsters says seriously, especially when they are brave enough to open up to you. Please remember you are what they identify as safe, a place of refuge where they can cry without judgement. The world around them is already tearing them down, it is your job to build them up.
Teenagers are secretive and do hide a lot but as a parent/care taker the signs are the same!!! Unhealthy relationships are also controlling relationships/friendships “hey if you don’t go to the party I’m telling everyone that you did….” or if they are dating, are they constantly texting and having to answer their whereabouts to a boyfriend or girlfriend? ?are they being manipulated? “Stacey is not answering my calls.” The “silent treatment” is a power move used to gain control and manipulate. Teens become even more secretive when they are struggling with something, they lose their appetite “no I’m going to skip dinner, I’m going to bed instead I’m tired.” The start skipping classes and missing school “mom I’m not feeling well enough to go to school today.” ( See I’m an old school mom, so I will show up to the school and check things out)…
Parent’s you must speak with your teens daily. They may be reluctant but meet them in their own elements, go to the movies, take a trip together, do something they want to do and just start “HEARING” them. The signs are there but we take for granted we know what they are capable of, and that is furthest from the truth!!!!
Children who are abused abuse others, the cycle continues because the “BULLIER” is also hurting but does not know how to deal with it. They transfer that abuse because it makes them feel better, no longer alone. Aggression is a very visible sign that something is going on deeper below the surface. The “BULLIER” is not only aggressive but, manipulative, they flock to friendships weaker than themselves because they feel more in control, they are also very critical of others “look at this guy he is so stupid haha.” Many resources are available today from school counselors to youth organizations all in the business of helping young people gain a healthy control of their lives and environment.
Harbor House of Central Florida has an excellent program called Project Courage which engages youth in the communities from Pre-k to 12 grade students receive consistent messaging about healthy relationships and positive interaction for more info contact www.harborhousefl.com.
Talk… Listen…. Love